This is a blog to discuss philosophy, chess, politics,
C. S. Lewis, or whatever it is that I'm in the mood to discuss.
Friday, November 21, 2014
Loftus: There is nothing irrational about these videos or laughing at your faith if you are delusional, Vic. Reason is behind them. Laughter is good medicine. You need a dosage of it everyday.
Let's say believers are in fact as I say, delusional. Let's also say that precisely because they are delusional we cannot usually reason them out of their delusion. Let's say their delusion is also causing a great deal of harm (think ISIS here if you need to). Then reason calls us to do whatever it takes within decency and the law to help them out of it.
Besides Vic, we just can't help ourselves. I'm saying let loose. We laugh at your faith in private all of the time. I'm saying bring it out into the public. Let the deluded see what we really think. What's wrong with letting people know what we really think on occasion? I don't advocate doing this exclusively, although for some people that's all they know to do.
A side product of doing this, just like when atheists come out of the closet, is that it increases the peer pressure against faith. All I hear you say is you don't like it, and that's it. Christians do it from the pulpits across America every Sunday against atheists.
VR: OK, I think we are at the center of what the problem really is. You say
1) Believers are delusional, and I take it this is something beyond just being mistaken. They are ignoring overwhelming evidence against their beliefs.
2) We cannot reason believers out of their delusion.
3) Their delusion is causing a lot of harm, the sort of harm the ISIS inflicts.
4) It will therefore be helpful to society overall to use whatever means are necessary to help believers out of their beliefs.
The underlying idea is that somehow, if we got believers to reject their faith, we would progress to some kind of earthly paradise or utopia. For people like you, John Lennon's Imagine is a good, serious piece of social analysis, not a pretty tune with a utopian vision written by someone who dropped too much acid to think clearly. (I wonder if even John thought it was a piece of serious analysis). My answer to that sort of thing is that you have to be that this idea is what's really delusional. You have to be really be gullible to believe something like that. If you buy that, you may claim to be from Missouri, but you have just bought bridges in New York and California and oceanfront property in Arizona.
I don't think this way about atheism in general. I have a lot of sympathy with arguments like the argument from evil. There a lot of commentators on my site who aren't particularly fanatical Christians, but they are particularly angered by this kind of New Atheism, or as I call it, atheojihadism.
It isn't religion that makes ISIS harmful, it's the idea that religion has to be brought into effect from the top down by government. On the other hand, the use of government-funded educational institutions to shove atheism down people's throats, which is where you end up if you follow Boghossian's Manual to its logical conclusions, or Dawkins' child abuse charge that is actually making it hard for Christians to adopt children in parts of England, you are turning atheism into a religion in the negative sense. Where this is headed for is a society bifurcated on religious-non-religious grounds, where we are going to be less and less able to function together as a society.
I think I've gotten uncharacteristically ill-tempered here. But I can tell you that even if I stopped believing in God tomorrow, I would still be unalterably opposed to a crusade to save people from their religious beliefs.